Every year the NBA grows further and further toward position-less basketball. Whether that means LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Ben Simmons running the point or 7-foot centers stepping outside the arc, it no longer pays in the NBA to just be big.
Yet at the same time, Zion Williamson is VERY big, and I’m sure that no matter what position he winds up playing over the next decade or so he will be a good NBA player. But when you have a once-in-a-lifetime athlete like Williamson, being a good NBA player isn’t enough. When a guy who’s 6-foot-7, 285-pounds can get almost his entire head above the rim and use his handles get to the basket with ease every time he touches the ball, the bar should undoubtedly be excellence.
Zion has shown signs of having great vision early on at Duke, and his ball skills have looked better than advertised heading into the year as well. He’s only averaging 3 assists per game thus far, but he’s always looked willing to make the extra pass or share the spotlight. One single number doesn’t necessarily represent that selflessness. It’s early, and you could argue a team as talented as the 2018-19 Blue Devils may make it a little easier for Williamson. But you can’t question this kid’s leadership. Every time he is on the floor, his team looks better. He’s constantly diving on the hardwood, motivating, and pushing his team forward.
When it comes down to it, what more do you want from your point guard if you’re an NBA head coach? The one-position is the team’s driving force, which is exactly why Zion Williamson fits the mold.
Sure, he’ll have his growing pains adjusting to the change, but teams in the lottery are young. They can afford to take the extra time to help Zion reach his fullest potential. Take the route that has proven ever-so successful for modern point-forwards like LeBron, Giannis, and Simmons. Even players who aren’t as athletically gifted as those aforementioned, like Draymond Green, have been able to carve out All-Star caliber roles by working hard and learning how to run an NBA offense. So why can’t someone as blessed as Williamson take similar steps and run, or in his case, fly with it?
There’s no way to describe how Zion Williamson plays basketball. But when you see it you know you’re watching something special, something, unlike anything the NBA has ever seen. He is unique, and his basketball career will without a doubt be the same, but there are precedents already in place for him to follow. If he would like to become the superstar we all know he one day could be, Zion Williamson should be playing point guard from here on out.